Montreux Jazz Festival

Discover all that’s on offer at the Montreux Jazz Festival, with our complete guide.

Montreux Jazz Festival Credit:© 2017 FFJM-Daniel Balmat  

Located on Lake Geneva, at the foot of the Swiss Alps, Montreux is known for its picturesque surroundings and unbelievable lakeside views. It's also the home of the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival , an annual event that showcases some of the latest and greatest in the music world.

As a long-time music lover, the Montreux Jazz Festival is one of my favourite summertime events and I try to attend every year. If you've never heard of the festival, or you simply want to know more, then check out my guide to this year's event.

The view of Lake Geneva from Montreux
The view of Lake Geneva from Montreux


The festival was founded in 1967 by Géo Voumard, René Langel and Claude Nobs. At the time of its creation it was a three-day, jazz-only festival featuring the world's most notable jazz pioneers, such as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. Over time, the festival has evolved to include artists from almost every musical genre, and boasts a jam-packed program that spans 16 days. Now, in its 49th year, the festival attracts visitors from all over the world and is the second largest jazz festival after the Montreal International.

Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux Jazz Festival Credit: © 2017 FFJM-Marc Ducrest


For many years the festival was held at the Montreux Casino, but as numbers have grown, they were forced to relocate. This year, performances will be held at 14 lakeside venues, all of which are near to the main auditorium, the Stravinski. For a truly unique experience, take a ride on the Montreux Jazz Trains or the Montreux Jazz Boats - there really is nothing like it.

The line-up

Since the festival's inception in 1967, each year's line-up has been exceptional, and 2015 is no different. Visitors can expect an eclectic mix of musical talents that range from traditional jazz to electronic dance music, and everything in between. No matter what kind of music you're into, the Montreux Jazz Festival has something for everyone, including heartbreak heartthrob, Sam Smith, and popular British indie rock band, Alt-J. Montreux Jazz Festival tickets are selling fast, so you'd better hurry up and get yours! As well as the range of ticketed events, several venues are open to the public, and will host performances that are free to attend.

Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux Jazz Festival Credit: © 2017 FFJM-Emilien Itim


Although the concerts aren't open to children under 6, and some venues are 18+ only, the festival itself is very family-friendly. Various play areas and activities are available, including a Music in the Park lawn, and afternoon to evening childcare facilities can be accessed from 2pm onwards. For older children and teenagers there's the Young Planet project, an initiative that promotes smoke-free and alcohol-free partying.

To experience fantastic music in a beautiful setting, start planning your trip to the Montreux Jazz Festival today. You can get from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle , and with easy motorway access at each end, Montreux is just a car ride away.